Open Records

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

This week is Sunshine Week. While spring is nearly here, it has nothing to do with the weather. Every year, reporters and government watchdogs mark the week highlighting the importance of transparency and open government.

Nate Hegyi with the Mountain West News Bureau sat down for an interview exploring the history of the event. What started in Florida in 2002 as “Sunshine Sunday” has grown to an entire week featuring panel discussions nationwide about open government and transparency hearings in Congress.

Idaho relies on private contractors to carry out government functions ranging from running prisons to keeping schools connected online.

The state's public records law clearly states no matter who holds the documents — government vendor or public agency — public records are always public. But a test of the law by The Associated Press shows the reality is murkier.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A federal judge has sided with a coalition of 17 Idaho news organizations in denying a request by the state's only private prison contractor to seal whatever it wants in a lawsuit brought by a group of inmates at the prison. 

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge issued an order Tuesday that significantly scales back a broad protection order sought by the Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise.